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low educations, and, when artificially displayed, are able to fetch down the most airy coquette. from the wildest of her flights and rambles.
True happiness is of a retired nature, and an enemy to pomp and noise it arises, in the first place, from the enjoyment of one's self; and in the next, from the friendship and conversation of a few select companions. It loves shade and solitude, and naturally haunts groves and fountains, fields and meadows: in short, it feels everything it wants within itself, and receives no addition from multitudes of witnesses and spectators. On the contrary, false happiness loves to be in a crowd, and to draw the eyes of the world upon her. She does not receive any satisfaction from the applauses which she gives herself, but from the admiration which she raises in others. She flourishes in courts and palaces, theatres and assemblies, and has no existence but when she is looked upon.
Aurelia, though a woman of great quality, delights in the privacy of a country life, and passes away a great part of her time in her own walks and gardens. Her husband, who is her bosom friend, and companion in her solitudes, has been in love with her ever since he knew her. They both abound with good sense, consummate virtue, and a mutual esteem; and are a perpetual entertainment to one another. Their family is under so regular an economy, in its hours of devotion and repast, employment and diversion, that it looks like a little commonwealth within itself. They often go into company, that they may return with the greater delight to one another; and sometimes live in town, not to enjoy it so properly, as to grow weary of it, that they may renew in themselves the relish of a country life. By this means they are happy in each other, beloved by their children, adored by their servants, and are become the envy, or rather the delight, of all that know them.
How different to this is the life of Fulvia! her husband as her steward, and looks upon discretion and good housewifery as little domestic virtues, unbecoming a woman of quality. She thinks life lost in her own family, and fancies herself out of the world, when she is not in the ring, the playhouse, or the drawing-room. She lives in a perpetual motion of body and restlessness of thought, and is never easy in any one place, when she thinks there is more company in another. The missing of an opera the first
night, would be more afflicting to her than the death of a child. She pities all the valuable part of her own sex; and calls every woman of a prudent, modest, retired life, a poorspirited, unpolished creature. What a mortification would it be to Fulvia, if she knew that her setting herself to view, is but exposing herself, and that she grows contemptible by being conspicuous!
I cannot conclude my paper without observing, that Virgil has very finely touched upon this female passion for dress and show, in the character of Camilla; who, though she seems to have shaken off all the other weaknesses of her sex, is still described as a woman in this particular. The poet tells us, that, after having made a great slaughter of the enemy, she unfortunately cast her eye on a Trojan, who wore an embroidered tunic, a beautiful coat of mail, with a mantle of the finest purple. "A golden bow," says he, "hung upon his shoulder; his garment was buckled with a golden clasp; and his head covered with an helmet of the same shining metal." The Amazon immediately singled out this well-dressed warrior, being seized with a woman's longing for the pretty trappings that he was adorned with.
-Totumque incauta per agmen
Fœmineo prædæ et spoliorum ardebat amore.
This heedless pursuit after these glittering trifles, the poet (by a nice concealed moral) represents to have been the destruction of his female hero.
No. 16. MONDAY, MARCH, 19.
Quod verum atque decens curo et rogo, et omnis in hoc sum. HOR. I HAVE received a letter, desiring me to be very satirical upon the little muff that is now in fashion; another informs me of a pair of silver garters buckled below the knee, that have been lately seen at the Rainbow Coffee-house, in Fleet Street: a third sends me an heavy complaint against fringed gloves. To be brief, there is scarce an ornament of either sex, which one or other of my correspondents has not inveighed against with some bitterness, and recommended to my observation. I must therefore, once for all, inform my readers, that it is not my intention to sink the dignity of
this my paper with reflections upon red-heels or top-knots, but rather to enter into the passions of mankind, and to correct those depraved sentiments that gave birth to all those little extravagancies which appear in their outward dress and behaviour. Foppish and fantastic ornaments are only indications of vice, not criminal in themselves. Extinguish vanity in the mind, and you naturally retrench the little superfluities of garniture and equipage. The blossoms will fall of themselves, when the root that nourishes them is destroyed.
I shall therefore, as I have said, apply my remedies to the first seeds and principles of an affected dress, without descending to the dress itself; though at the same time I must own, that I have thoughts of creating an officer under me, to be entitled, "The Censor of small Wares," and of allotting him one day in a week for the execution of such his office. An operator of this nature might act under me, with the same regard as a surgeon to a physician; the one might be employed in healing those blotches and tumours which break out in the body, while the other is sweetening the blood, and rectifying the constitution. To speak truly, the young people of both sexes are so wonderfully apt to shoot out into long swords or sweeping trains, bushy head-dresses or full-bottomed periwigs, with several other encumbrances of dress, that they stand in need of being pruned very frequently, lest they should be oppressed with ornaments, and overrun with the luxuriance of their habits. I am much in doubt, whether I should give the preference to a Quaker, that is trimmed close, and almost cut to the quick, or to a beau, that is loaden with such a redundance of excrescences. I must, therefore, desire my correspondents to let me know how they approve my project, and whether they think the erecting of such a petty censorship may not turn to the emolument of the public; for I would not do anything of this nature raskly and without advice.
There is another set of correspondents to whom I must address myself in the second place; I mean, such as fill their letters with private scandal, and black accounts of particular persons and families. The world is so full of ill-nature, that I have lampoons sent me by people who cannot spell, and satires composed by those who scarce know how to write. By the last post in particular, I received a packet of scandal
which is not legible; and have a whole bundle of letters in women's hands that are full of blots and calumnies, insomuch, that when I see the name Cælia, Phillis, Pastora, or the like, at the bottom of a scrawl, I conclude of course that it brings me some account of a fallen virgin, a faithless wife, or an amorous widow. I must therefore inform these my correspondents, that it is not my design to be a publisher of intrigues and cuckoldoms, or to bring little infamous stories. out of their present lurking holes into broad day-light. If I attack the vicious, I shall only set upon them in a body; and will not be provoked by the worst usage I can receive from others, to make an example of any particular criminal. In short, I have so much of a Drawcansir in me, that I shall pass over a single foe to charge whole armies. It is not Lais or Silenus, but the harlot and the drunkard, whom I shall endeavour to expose; and shall consider the crime as it appears in a species, not as it is circumstanced in an individual. I think it was Caligula, who wished the whole city of Rome had but one neck, that he might behead them at a blow. I shall do out of humanity what that emperor would have done in the cruelty of his temper, and aim every stroke at a collective body of offenders. At the same time I am very sensible, that nothing spreads a paper like private calumny and defamation; but as my speculations are not under this necessity, they are not exposed to this temptation.
In the next place I must apply myself to my party correspondents, who are continually teasing me to take notice of one another's proceedings. How often am I asked by both sides, if it is possible for me to be an unconcerned spectator of the rogueries that are committed by the party which is opposite to him that writes the letter. About two days since I was reproached with an old Grecian law, that forbids any man to stand as a neuter or a looker-on in the divisions of his country. However, as I am very sensible my paper would lose its whole effect, should it run into the outrages of a party, I shall take care to keep clear of everything which looks that way. If I can any way assuage private inflammations, or allay public ferments, I shall apply myself to it with my utmost endeavours; but will never let my heart reproach me with having done anything towards increasing those feuds and animosities that extinguish religion, deface government, and make a nation miserable.
What I have said under the three foregoing heads, will, I am afraid, very much retrench the number of my correspondents: I shall therefore acquaint my reader, that if he has started any hint which he is not able to pursue, if he has met with any surprising story which he does not know how to tell, if he has discovered any epidemical vice which has escaped my observation, or has heard of any uncommon virtue which he would desire to publish,-in short, if he has any materials that can furnish out an innocent diversion, I shall promise him my best assistance in the working of them up for a public entertainment.
This paper my reader will find was intended for an answer to a multitude of correspondents; but I hope he will pardon me if I single out one of them in particular, who has made me so very humble a request, that I cannot forbear complying with it.
"TO THE SPECTATOR.
March 15th, 1710-11.
I am at present so unfortunate, as to have nothing to do but to mind my own business; and therefore beg of you that you will be pleased to put me into some small post under you. I observe that you have appointed your printer and publisher to receive letters and advertisements for the city of London; and shall think myself very much honoured by you, if you will appoint me to take in letters and advertisements for the city of Westminster and the duchy of Lancaster. Though I cannot promise to fill such an employment with sufficient abilities, I will endeavour to make up with industry and fidelity what I want in parts and genius. I am, Sir,
Your most obedient servant,
No. 18. WEDNESDAY, MARCH 21.
-Equitis quoque jam migravit ab aure voluptas
Omnis ad incertos oculos et gaudia vana.
Ir is my design in this paper to deliver down to posterity a faithful account of the Italian Opera, and of the gradual